There is but a single vision of the groomzilla — Charlie Balducci, a guido in a white tuxedo who appeared in a 2002 episode of MTV’s True Life: I’m Getting Married. On camera, at least, he was intimately involved in the planning of a wedding that was certain to put him and his newly minted Mrs. Balducci in deep debt—and quick to become enraged at anyone who got in the way of his special day. Like say, the limo driver who was running a little late:
While not all groomzillas are as prone to pronouncements such as “I will gut you like the piece of shit you are” and “I’ll hunt you down like cattle,” they are a difficult species to wrangle — especially when they’re in high-pressure situations like making lifelong promises to God and committing to a single person for the rest of their time on Earth. And according to the three wedding planners we spoke to, no one loses it quite like a groomzilla—not even the bride.
* Note: All names have been changed to protect the very, very, very finicky — as well as the wedding planners themselves, who have to work in this industry again.
Ron was super-entitled, but he typically came off as a genuinely nice and generous guy — until the day of the wedding. As with all weddings, we had a timeline. He, however, completely disregarded it and decided he wanted to treat himself to a hot shave. He called a mobile shaving company that came and gave him a shave, massage and face mask. It was like a half-day at the spa and ended up putting everything three hours behind. I kept going into his room to say we needed to speed things up, but he said, “I don’t give a fuck. This day is about me just as much as it is about the bride.”
For her part, the bride was sitting upstairs in her wedding dress in a home they’d rented for the wedding. This was the middle of August; it was very hot. I kept giving her updates and bringing her water, but there was nothing more I could do. She was literally sweating it out upstairs holding her bouquet of flowers. On top of that, the guests were furious with me because they were starving.
Once it was all said and done, the groom acted as if nothing had happened. I doubt they’re still married. The bride gave the fakest smile for pictures during the first look. She was really pissed.
I had another guy who changed the seating chart 23 times, which meant the hotel kept having to change the table sizes. Even two days before the wedding he was still trying to change it. It all made sense when we found out later that the groom was a huge coke addict. —Alicia, wedding planner
This particular client was incredibly vocal, but in an intense, demanding way. He had a lot of ideas based on things he’d see in a magazine. But his vision changed a lot. For instance, on the day of the wedding, he decided he didn’t want the hotel’s ivory-colored dance floor. So we ordered a different dance floor immediately. But they were five hours late with the install. That’s when he started to lose his shit. Meanwhile, his wife agreed to everything he wanted.
I subsequently found out 25 minutes before the ceremony that I would be escorting the groom to the hotel. In the limo, he decides he wants to begin cocktail hour early and starts drinking vodka. After a few swigs, he burst into tears. These weren’t tears of joy either; they were complete waterworks. Something was really bothering him. I put my hand on his back and asked what was going on. I offered him some food, too. I was trying anything to console him. In that moment, he came out to me and told me he was gay. It was surreal. I wasn’t sure what to do. To this day, I’m not sure what I should’ve done.
When we pulled up to the hotel, he didn’t say another word. He just got out of the car and proceeded as if nothing had happened. I’ve actually checked up on them and they’re still married. So… I guess I did the right thing? —Sally, event coordinator/designer
My biggest groomzilla was an “artist” (actually, a graphic designer) who micromanaged everything. He was younger than me and he’d never planned a wedding before, but he thought he knew more than me. In fact, on every other decision, he would override me. I hired a florist; he hired a different florist. I hired a baker; he hired a different baker.
For an entire year, we had phone calls once a week, and any time I pushed a phone call, he would get mad. At one point, the bride actually apologized on his behalf and referred to him as a “groomzilla.” It was really the only thing she said throughout the whole process.
It all caught up to him in the end, though. During the rehearsal, he showed up 90 minutes late and pretended to be blind. He literally said he couldn’t see because of how much stress he was under. His fiancée had to escort everywhere he went. On the day of the wedding, however, he could see again. It was a wedding day miracle. —Lindsay, wedding planner